Mario Vargas Llosa started his Nobel Prize acceptance speech with his early memories of reading:
“I learned to read at the age of five, in Brother Justiniano’s class at the De la Salle Academy in Cochabamba, Bolivia. It is the most important thing that has ever happened to me. Almost seventy years later I remember clearly how the magic of translating the words in books into images enriched my life, breaking the barriers of time and space and allowing me to travel with Captain Nemo twenty thousand leagues under the sea, fight with d’Artagnan, Athos, Portos, and Aramis against the intrigues threatening the Queen in the days of the secretive Richelieu, or stumble through the sewers of Paris, transformed into Jean Valjean carrying Marius’s inert body on my back.
Reading changed dreams into life and life into dreams and placed the universe of literature within reach of the boy I once was.”
Contrast that testimonial with the information in the American Public Media report, “Why aren’t kids being taught to read?”
We certainly know as much now as Brother Justiniano did seventy years ago. Why don’t we apply it? Mario was probably a smart boy, but he was still taught to read by Brother Justiano. He wasn’t asked to teach himself or learn from his little friends in a collaborative group. It seems as if he had what the overwhelming evidence recommends: direct, explicit instruction in foundational reading skills. Why don’t we give that gift to every little kid?
At the end of the APM report, Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of the book Language at the Speed of Sight, offers an answer: “One thing that we have learned from climate change and the other issues over which we have polarization in this country is that facts aren’t the thing that change people’s beliefs.”
Everyone Reading is very small, but we are trying our best to confront the literacy crisis in direct and explicit ways and, perhaps, change people’s beliefs.
For struggling third grade readers, we offer FREE weekly after-school tutoring
The Everyone Reading After-School Tutoring Program will take place once a week, on Tuesdays, from November 2018 through May 2019, following the New York City Department of Education calendar. There will be two 45-minute sessions: Group 1 from 3:30 to 4:15; Group 2 from 4:30 to 5:15. Students will receive 45 minutes of explicit instruction and correct practice in phonics and fluency. Vocabulary and comprehension skills will not be covered. STUDENTS MUST BE CURRENTLY IN THIRD GRADE AND BORN IN 2010.
Enrolling in the Everyone Reading after-school program requires a major commitment on the part of the student and the student’s parent or guardian. The program will take place at Everyone Reading, 11 Broadway, Suite 868, New York, NY 10004. No transportation or refreshments will be provided.
Students MUST attend all sessions. Absence will be cause for dismissal. Students will be screened before the program begins to determine if they will benefit from the program and to place them in the appropriate group.
For more information and an application, contact:
Laura Guerrero, Lguerrero@everyonereading.org.